Skilled in sales, marketing, and strategic planning, business consultant Jeff Nock breaks down the SWOT analysis process.
By making time for periodic SWOT analyses, businesses are able to maintain a longer-term view of their potential opportunities, as well as possible pitfalls and threats. That’s according to business consultant Jeff Nock as he provides a simplified view of the SWOT analysis process from his office in Iowa City, Iowa.
“The benefits of conducting periodic SWOT analyses for companies are almost too numerous to count,” suggests Nock, a seasoned business consultant experienced in sales, marketing, and strategic planning, based in Iowa City, Iowa. These benefits, he says, range from better understanding of internal core strengths and areas that need improvement to being better prepared to deal with external competitive threats and take advantage of opportunities. “Periodic SWOT analyses are essential, I believe, for any company looking to achieve continued growth and success,” adds the expert.
An acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, a typical SWOT analysis identifies internal and external factors likely to affect a company’s future performance. “While strengths and weaknesses are focused internally, opportunities and threats involve addressing external or environmental factors,” business consultant Nock explains. “In the simplest sense, it’s about the company taking the occasional time to measure its own temperature and the temperature of its market”, he adds.
Without ensuring this, it’s often a struggle to accurately allocate resources, labor, capital, and more, according to Nock. “Identifying weaknesses, for example,” he goes on, “is vital to improving business operations and can mitigate against all manner of strategic blunders.”
It’s important to remember, too, Nock says, that all companies have core strengths and that weaknesses, once identified, can be addressed through partnerships or changes in process.
Similarly, threats—or risks—such as regulatory changes or swings in consumer tastes, can have a catastrophic effect on a business if not properly understood, yet, when managed, it’s possible to turn a negative into a positive and avoid a potential nightmare situation before it occurs, according to the specialist.
“From competitive positioning to strategic planning, the SWOT analysis process is about always being prepared,” adds Nock, wrapping up, “and having a well-developed contingency plan in place should the need arise to change course in pursuit of continued business success.”